Amarnath Yatra 2024 is now open!

Recently, the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) announced the opening of registrations for this year’s yatra.
Hindu devotees during Amarnath Yatra
Hindu devotees during Amarnath Yatra (File Photo | AP)

Undertaken by devotees worldwide each year, the Amarnath Yatra is a challenging pilgrimage to the sacred cave shrine nestled high in Jammu & Kashmir’s Pahalgam tehsil at 3,880 metres. Set in a scenic backdrop, the trek traverses snow-capped mountains and unpredictable weather. Yet, the journey is also marked by the warmth of community and the sustenance of langars.

Recently, the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) announced the opening of registrations for this year’s yatra. Spanning across a period of 52 days, the trek will begin on June 29 and end on August 19. The schedule was finalised after a board meeting chaired by Jammu & Kashmir lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha. To streamline the application process for devotees who wish to undertake this holy journey, Aadhaar-enabled forms will be system-generated at 540 Punjab National Bank branches nationwide. Additionally, devotees can conveniently register from their homes via the board’s website.

The pilgrimage circuit encompasses two main routes that can partially be covered by motorcycle and partially by foot. The first route is the traditional 48 km Nunwan-Pahalgam route while the other is the 14 km-long Baltal route in Ganderbal district. The latter, although shorter, is the more challenging option. The trek will begin simultaneously from both routes. While the Amarnath Yatra welcomes devotees between the ages of 13 and 75, there are some health considerations. Women who are more than six weeks pregnant cannot participate and all pilgrims must undergo a mandatory health check-up to ensure they are fit for the trek. To further bolster safety measures for this challenging journey, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel are undergoing specialised training to join the Jammu & Kashmir Police’s Mountain Rescue Teams (MRTs).

The Amarnath cave, nestled high in the Himalayas, is a revered pilgrimage site for Hindus. Legend has it that Lord Shiva chose this cave to reveal the secrets of immortality to goddess Parvati. As he narrated these secrets, he transformed into an ice lingam, the atma lingam, which is worshipped by devotees today. The round trip for Amarnath Yatra costs RS 21,000 onwards.

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The New Indian Express